From Humble Beginnings To Now Legitimate Promoters, “Cuckoo” Has Brought Trance Back To Nottingham

“People probably laughed at us at first. There hadn’t been a Trance event in the city for a while, and people were resigned to the fact that it was over.”

As 34-year old Nottingham, England resident Stephan Martin took a break from his day job, he took us back to only a short year and a half ago when a typical night of DJ’ing brought four friends together and the idea for Cuckoo Trance Events to be born.

Cuckoo Trance Events

“I’ve DJ’ed in the upstairs portion of the ‘The Bar,'” remembered Stephan. “And, last year I suggested to the owner, who happens to enjoy Trance, to let me do a night in the larger downstairs area, to which she agreed.” The Bar posted the night on social media catching the eye of a local resident, Paul Weston who happily approached Stephan about it. “He didn’t think anyone else around this area enjoyed Trance,” Stephan laughingly said. “So, Paul ended up inviting Alex Wright along, and we had a nice little evening out of it.” Note: Alex Wright is an established Trance producer with notable singles, “Temptation,” “Golden Gate,” “Vixen and Lioness.”

A chord was struck with Paul after seeing the 20-year veteran Stephan play, and he suggested they “do this again” in a couple of weeks. Securing a venue in Stapleford, a town outside of Nottingham, the three heavily promoted the night on social media along with old-school flyers in every crevice they could find around the city. The 40-person capacity venue was small, but they filled it.

A month later, in February 2018, the three returned to the higher capacity Nottingham venue where they first met and began to create posters of their showcased talent. With newfound friend, Frazer Hynds, up-and-coming Trance artist, Ashley Bradbury and Stephan fitting the bill this night, the venue again was at maximum capacity.

This was beginning to take off, and the four lads were coming to terms with their distinct roles in the business. “Paul and I basically started this,” said Stephan. “But, Alex knows everyone with his production duties, so he’s been great about talking to artists and securing them for our shows.” Stephan continued, “Frazer has also been valuable to us. There aren’t that many quality DJ’s around anymore, so he’s been an excellent addition as a resident for Cuckoo. He’s a quality opening act!”

Cuckoo Trance Events
Club-goers enjoying a Cuckoo Trance Event

As often is the case, Cuckoo had survived by accepting the good-natured spirit of the people in the scene who were willing to play the events, and Alex secured friends Sam Laxton and Everlight to perform in June 2018. “Sam had agreed to come and help us out,” said a grateful Stephan. “Once word got out that Sam was doing it, Everlight followed.” Again, the room was filled to capacity.

With the need to further their brand, Cuckoo set out to secure a bigger venue where they could sell tickets to showcase their hired talent in a more modern, club-goer friendly style. After an event showcasing Perfecto recording artist, Glynn Alan and up-and-comers, Rated R, the four had a chat with Dan Stone who was eager to come to the city to see his sister, a student at the University of Nottingham, and agreed to play.

With everyone’s hectic schedules, Stephan and Paul employed a now tradition that many other promoters incorporate into their night, a pre-gig meal. “It’s nice to have everyone sit down and chat to get to know one another,” Stephan proudly said. “It’s not like the old days where you’d show up a half hour before your set time, play, and then just leave. We’re all a family here, and I think that’s what Dan appreciated.”

Cuckoo Trance Events with Dan Stone (c)
Cuckoo with Dan Stone (c)

During the pre-gig meal of Dan’s October 2018 performance, Paul and Stephan approached him and suggested that he and his co-owner of Future Sound Of Egypt’s “Fables” recording label, Ferry Tayle, do a show together in support of their upcoming Fables world tour. “This one took some doing,” admitted Stephan. “But, after the hospitality Cuckoo prides itself on and the promise of securing a larger venue, their agents agreed to let them do it!”

Continuing their events, Cuckoo’s first birthday in January was sold out weeks in advance with Ashley Bradbury again behind the decks along with Denmak’s Daniel Kandi. And, this past April’s event featuring fan-favorite Amir Hussain and Grotesque Music’s A&R, Daniel Skyver round out the company’s promotions.

Fables night will be the seventh Cuckoo event in their short history and will take place at Box – a 300-person capacity nightclub in the heart of Nottingham. With the Crowne Plaza Hotel nearby for easy access to the artists and out of town club-goers, the lucky ticket holders will witness a 3-hour back to back set featuring Dan and Ferry in a very intimate setting. “We’ve people coming from all across the U.K. and Scotland,” proclaimed Stephan. “And, for them to see such a powerful duo that are used to playing big room venues, this is the chance of a lifetime for everyone involved!”

Dan Stone & Ferry Tayle 
Fables Night
Fables Night Poster Art

Tickets are still on sale for the August 25, 2019 event that will also showcase Alex, Frazer and Stephan. A special contest is also ongoing for the chance to win two all-access passes to the event, along with a meet and greet, and a signed A1 event poster.

With a November event already in the works, Cuckoo’s simple approach to providing club-goers and DJ’s with a quality evening of good music and hospitality is quickly putting them ahead of an already saturated market.

“We’re not trying to be the next Gatecrasher,” said a humble Stephan. “We’re trying to realistic and give the Trance fans of Nottingham a place to enjoy the music and have an enjoyable evening.”

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Erik Lake

All this machinery making modern music can still be open hearted.